If you can Get(ty) there…

August 14, 2011 § 10 Comments

Go north on the Pac Coast Highway to Malibu and watch for the sign. 
This magnificent place, invisible from the road, has a single right-lane turn only as its approach.
First “stop” as you drive nearly vertically uphill  is a check point where you’re asked if you have your ticket reservations.
Um, no, we don’t followed by hopeful smile.
The guard pats his pocket, then says “we have some here…” he pauses – ( should i tip him?) so I pause, too…and he does, after long moments, pull two tickets from his shirt pocket and hands them over. We drive up to the next check point. What will happen here?

The guard takes our tickets, says we’re good to go for the 3 o’clock entrance and I demure, with lifted eyebrows, asking if we are allowed to walk around prior to a 3 o clock entry?  
Oh, no, you can go right in. We just “clock ’em to even out crowds if necessary.

We drive on, slowly on the giant cobblestones that discourage any speed quicker than that of a turtle on holiday.
We have disappeared into foliage, then there is a garage, and the hint of some splendid concrete building, but nothing more to disembark, take an elevator and come out onto a patio of sorts (last picture) above and look around.

Egads. This is already a wonderful stop. We see the sea, and it really isn’t far off at all though it appears to be in the picture.

The sun is bright, we are enveloped here in the privacy of “museum” and follow paths that open to an amphitheatre (pictured) and the “villa” to the right. We descend again in an elevator to reach the first floor of the Villa and enter. At this point, I wouldn’t care if I saw any artwork at all. The place itself is art.

Built (within) to reflect a Roman home. For those of you who studied Latin, you’ll remember the atrium being the most important “place,” where guest are greeted, with mosaic on the floor around the impluvium (not pictured). Surrounding the atrium were the master famiy’s main rooms –  bedrooms, study, dining room. The back of the house was focused around the peristyleum which had a  small garden typically surrounded by columns and from here, the bathrooms, kitchen and triclunium where the family took its meals in the nicest weather. The peristyleum has no roof. 

However, in my blithe attempts at picturing this unique museum, I have given only glimpses of some of the architecture found on site; this museum is not a copy of a Roman household by any means but imitates on the its first level, partially, the general set up of such a household.

The grapes, pictures above, are real. Some of the other “architectural” photos are trompe l’oeil. But you won’t be fooled. And the statues are real, unique, authentic and more than 2000 years old. Remarkable. The umbrellas are for guests who walk about en plein air at this marvelous villa perched and anchored hillside.

Getty has quite an art stash here at the Villa,  reflecting the study of Greece, Rome and Etruria.
The Getty Center in LA is a whole other story, featuring his collection of Western Art from Middle Ages to the present.

It’s an experience to visit the Villa whose architecture and structure is as fascinating as the cultures portrayed within it.

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§ 10 Responses to If you can Get(ty) there…

  • Corri says:

    Wonderful pictures – as usual. I feel as if I’m walking around there although I’ve never seen the Getty Center, never been to LA for that matter! It seems you’re having a good time, and I like the write-ups: it’s nice to be travelling along with you and get to see some places from my armchair in the evening, after a day’s work 🙂

  • ds says:

    Thank you for sharing this. It is on my bucket list…

  • RL says:

    Nice, I mean, perfect foot shot! Thanks for sharing your perfect feet with this imperfect world!

  • jeanie says:

    Oh, my — if I get that way, it is SO on the list. That corridor shot — what perfect peace. All that and to see the sea! I love the idea of it. What a great memory and so beautiful to see it through your eyes.

  • shoreacres says:

    How ironic that Getty himself never saw the place, even though, as Joan Didion mentions, it opened a year and a half before his death. Apparently he liked the planning of it, the idea of it – leaving the experience of it to others. Like you!

    I think one of the most interesting observations I’ve heard is that, at the Getty, you can see the marbles, the statues, the tiles, as they would have looked to the arrivistes of an earlier time, without the patina of ever-so-elegant age we’ve come to associate with them.

    In any event, the photos are terrific and I’m so glad you enjoyed it – although I confess, my favorites are the (real) grapes!

  • anno says:

    Stunningly beautiful … kind of mind-boggling in its scope. Hard to imagine having the kind of vision to create a place like this. Gorgeous, gorgeous pictures — sure hope I get to see this place in person sometime! Good to hear from you again — welcome back!

  • Carrie says:

    Oooh — added to places I must go… Great shots, especially the hallway!

  • oh says:

    Corri – And I know you’re doing some traveling around the countryside, too! and I’d better run over to your place and see what you’re reading. I really must get off these “beach books” I’ve been reading. sheesh.

    DS – cool – you have a bucket list… wonder what other travels you have on it…remember if you get to STL for any reason, just holler! We’re here!

    RL – you crack me up. You KNOW I end up shooting my feet in places I travel – somehow it validates that you are really in that place.

    Jeanie – My intrepid traveling friend! We are enjoying the get-around pictures on your blog as well! AS for the Getty? Yes, you’d love it and its cafe.

    Shore – such interesting things you mention – I was not at all aware that Getty didn’t see the place himself. And yet what a passionate place it is, controlled, almost minimalistic, except in size and the slant of it as it sits on the side of the (very steep) hill. And its true, about seeing them as you mention; the mosaics are perhaps the most remarkable for being 2000+ years old and yet there are all those little 1/2″ squares creating pictures and huge tableaux. The grace of the statues is tough to describe as well; it is rare that stone looks soft to me, belying its true density.
    Here’s to the grapes! (raising a glass!)

    Anno- so glad you like the photos…wasn’t sure which ones to post…I don’t have a Flickr account – maybe that’s a better way to go/share, though?

    Carrie – hey, great to hear from you. Are there ever enough pictures?

  • Dale says:

    Wonderful pictures and description DiLo. I can picture you smiling in the sun!

  • litlove says:

    What a gorgeous post! I doubt I’ll ever make it there myself so thank you for the wonderful virtual tour!

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